Rialto Bridge

Day 20: Saturday, April 30, 2005
Rialto Bridge Photos by Pat Tyler

The Rialto is Wide

That width is to support the shops that line both sides of the bridge. There is a walk way in the center, between the shops, and walkways line the outer edges of the bridge too.

On The Bridge
Masks in Shop Window

Masks are popular art pieces in Venice, and on sale around the city in a wide range of styles and quality. The use of masks during the life of the Venetian Republic remains one of mankind's eccentric practices. Although, masks have been worn in cultures throughout the world for thousands of years, perhaps never with such gusto as in Venice. With a level of social wealth unequaled since, the citizens of Venice developed a unique culture—one in which the concealing of the identity in daily life became paramount to daily activity. Part of the secrecy was pragmatic: there were things to do, people to see, and perhaps one might not want others to know what deals he was cutting. Additionally, the masks served an important social purpose of keeping every citizen on equal footing. Masked, a servant could be mistaken for a nobleman—or vice versa. State inquisitors and spies could question citizens without fear of their true identity being discovered—and citizens could answer without fear of retribution. The morale of the people was maintained through the use of masks —for with no faces, everyone had voices.

Tiny Shop With Lots of Masks
Looking Northeast From the Bridge

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